Dorset and Somerset firm Porter Dodson effected two mergers in the last financial year, but did not manage to increase its revenue from the £7.6m it generated in 2009-10.
That said, director of non-legal services Nicholas Clegg says the additions of one-partner Penzance firm Boase Bennetts & James and four-partner Yeovil outfit Batt Sanders & Bennett has been beneficial to the firm’s practice mix.
“Cornwall firm Boase was closing and we were interested in its principal, Alison Stock, who joined our Wellington office,” says Clegg, adding that Stock’s commercial property experience was a welcome addition to Porter Dodson.
He adds that the Batt Sanders deal also made sense, as the lawyers who joined “have a strong commercial business, and that’s an important area for us”.
Porter Dodson is split into five main practice areas: dispute resolution; family; probate, tax and trust; residential conveyancing; and commercial. The shape of the business, though, has altered in the past two years due to the firm’s decision to withdraw from the National Accident Helpline scheme for personal injury claims.
“Now we only do personal injury for clients who come to us direct,” says Clegg. “If one of our typical clients has an accident, we can do work on that.”
A new area that the firm is pushing in its family practice is surrogacy and fertility, following the hire of partner Louisa Ghevaert in May this year. Ghevaert previously worked for Gamble and Ghevaert, which she co-founded in 2009.
Partners at Porter Dodson are remunerated via a 10-year lockstep, entering on 10 points and gaining one per year up to a maximum of 20. In 2010-11 equity partners took home an average of £150,000. Generally the firm distributes profit in three tranches after the close of the financial year, in August, at Christmas and in the spring.
Director of non-legal services: Nicholas Clegg
Number of partners:22
Number of lawyers:54
Number of fee-earners:75
Number of offices:Five
Locations:Dorchester, Sherborne, Taunton, Wellington, Yeovil
Main practice areas:Dispute resolution, family, residential conveyancing, commercial property, corporate, probate, trust and tax.
Key clients: A range of individual and private clients